Global Going Local

TMF Group is a global professional services company that helps international companies set up businesses in new markets. Markets Germany talks to the managing director of TMF Germany, Ursula Rutovitz, about the current trends in the German market.

June, 2019

Ursula Rutovitz is an expert in helping foreign corporations to set up company locations in Germany. Rutovitz, a lawyer by profession in both U.S. and German law, has been working in this capacity for the TMF Group for 19 years – in fact, her employer was her first case. “When TMF entered the German market, I set up the first branch in Frankfurt/Main – my good knowledge of local legal and economic structures and my international work experience helped me to do this,” recalls Rutovitz, who is managing director of TMF Germany.

This combination of international networking and local market knowledge is at the heart of TMF’s business model. Or as their website puts it, “We believe that the only way to be truly ‘global’ is to put local first.” The Group has a team of 7,000 in-country experts operating in 83 countries (across 125 offices) to help businesses of all sizes succeed in new territories and be compliant with local and international regulations. At the last count, TMF had 15,000 clients worldwide.

Frankfurt: a fine location
The economic center of the FrankfurtRheinMain region, Frankfurt/Main is home to some 43,000 companies and generates most of the employment for the region (650,000 jobs). While it is famous as a financial hub, it is also home to many key target industries: the creative industries, IT and telecommunications, life science and logistics, and industrial production. Its superb infrastructure, transport and proximity to institutions and educational facilities add to its attractiveness as a location.

Photo: David Jrg Engel/EyeEm

Rutovitz explains the focus of the German offices: “We open up the local headquarters for companies wishing to enter the ¬German market, handle the entire bureaucratic process of setting up a company, establish contacts with the authorities, and set up all back office services such as accounting and reporting, HR and payroll administration, tax and legal compliance services on site.”

Challenges for foreign companies

For foreign companies wanting to enter in the German market, these formal bureaucratic prerequisites are one of the biggest initial challenges. “The requirements of German and European law for financial transparency, reporting and data protection are very high,” says Rutovitz. “If you want to find business partners in Germany, you have to have the relevant processes under control right from the start. Then the strict German bureaucracy becomes an advantage: “The bureaucratic processes and regulations in Germany are very reliable and predictable. This gives companies planning security.”

»Germany is an attractive market and offers companies great opportunities.«

Ursula Rutovitz, Managing Director, TMF Germany

Photo: TMF Group

Because Germany is such a stable base for launching a business in Europe, TMF Germany has seen rising demand from foreign enterprises that want to gain a foothold in the German market, reports Rutovitz. The growing and innovative German economy is attracting many enterprises from the U.S., Asia and other regions. “The demand for our services is high at present – HR and payroll in particular, and also bookkeeping and corporate secretarial services.

Because of the Brexit situation, we find that it is mainly financial sector businesses that want to develop locations in Germany.” The demand for professional services and for support for developing growth in Germany is also strong. “International companies are looking for partners who can highlight the special features of the market, who are up to date with current legal and technological developments, and who can point out risks and opportunities.”

10 bn

Value of the global market for provision of compliance and administrative services

In addition to the Frankfurt office, TMF set up an office in Munich six years ago. “Just like in Frankfurt, there are many large corporations and successful medium-sized companies from various sectors as well as private equity companies based there,” says Rutovitz. Another critical factor influencing choice of location is workforce: Frankfurt and Munich offer a large pool of well-trained specialists within close proximity.

As the process of digitalization demands ever more complex and sophisticated services, it is important to have access to technically qualified and multilingual specialists. “Germany is an attractive market that offers enterprises great chances,” summarizes Rutovitz. And since TMF Germany is part of a wholly-owned global group, it can help its clients to do business seamlessly across borders from the stable hub of Germany.